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Odor Control

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Odor Control Technologies

Standard Methods of Municipal and Industrial Odor Control



There are three technologies currently used for municipal and industrial odor control; source treatment, air purification and odor neutralization. Understanding how each method works can be very helpful in organizing an effective odor control plan.


Source Treatment is the first category of odor control.

Source Treatment includes all odor control systems that are designed to prevent malodors from being emitted into the air. This category involves direct treatment of the odor source, such as garbage or sewage, so that malodors cannot be volatized as gases from the solid or liquid materials.


Odor Inhibitors

Odor Inhibitors are designed to prevent microorganisms from producing malodors. There are two types of inhibitors; poisons and bioaugmentors. Poisons stop microbial digestion by killing the microorganisms. Bioaugmentors modify the way microbes digest organic material so that the byproducts are less offensive (carbon dioxide and water, for example, instead of hydrogen sulfide).


Odor Binding Agents

Odor Binders are designed to absorb malodors that already exist in the solid or liquid state and prevent them volatizing off as gases into the air. There are two common types of binders; solvents and encapsulaters. Solvents dissolve malodors after absorption. Encapsulaters trap malodors and keep them in solution so that they cannot be volatized.


Odor Scavengers

Odor Scavengers are designed to prevent malodors that already exist in the solid or liquid state from volatizing off as gases into the air. There are two common types of scavengers; reactants and oxidizers. Reactants chemically bond with malodors to change the chemical structure of the malodorous molecules. Oxidizers serve two purposes; they oxidize malodors, serving a scavenger role, yet they also kill microbes, serving an inhibitor role.


Air Purification is the second category of odor control.

Air Purification includes negative pressure systems that remove malodorous molecules from ventilated air. With this category, the odor source must be covered or enclosed so the malodors are contained in a ventilation air stream.


Dry Air Scrubbing

Dry air scrubbers force contaminated air through a contact chamber full of impregnated media. Dry scrubbing utilizes solid pelletized media impregnated with reactive or oxidizing chemicals. Air contaminants react with the dry chemistry, forming solid compounds on the media surface. Clean air is exhausted into the atmosphere. When the reactivity of the dry chemistry is spent, the media must be replaced.


Carbon Filtration

Carbon Filters, also known as Carbon Absorbers or Carbon Adsorbers, force contaminated air through a contact chamber full of activated carbon. Activated carbon is typically manufactured from coal or a hardwood such as coconut shell. Air contaminants become trapped in the pores on the surface of the activated carbon. Clean air is exhausted into the atmosphere. When the pores of the activated carbon become full, the media must be replaced.


Wet Air Scrubbing

Wet air scrubbers force contaminated air through a contact chamber. A water based chemical solution is sprayed down through the contact chamber, removing contaminants from the air. The contaminated chemical solution is drained into a waste line and clean air is exhausted into the atmosphere. Wet scrubbing systems typically use either acid/base chemical reactions or oxidation for air purification.


Odor Modification is the third category of odor control.

Odor Modification techniques are utilized for the treatment of malodors that have been emitted into the atmosphere. Odor Modification processes take place in the open air, treating either indoor or outdoor fugitive odor emissions.


Odor Masking Agents

Masking Agents are odorants designed to overpower malodors with another fragrance that is more pleasant. These odorants are fogged or misted into the air. Masking agents work by overcoming the human sense of smell rather than reacting with the malodor. BioTriad does not recommend the use of masking agents because they increase the odor concentration.


Odor Neutralizers

Odor Neutralizers interact directly with malodors in the open air to reduce or completely eliminate detectable odor. Neutralizers are either evaporated or fogged into malodorous air. Malodors are absorbed into the neutralizer, where dissolution and/or reactions change the chemical structure of the malodorous molecules.



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